Sanitoa meets with Public Works to discuss status of road repair timeline
Rep. Larry Sanitoa has written to Public Works Director Faleosina Faiai Voigt regarding issues ranging from the Second Phase of the Resurfacing Project, to drainage work in Tualauta County and the status of the Airport Road Project.
Sanitoa met with Voigt, Public Works Deputy Director Falavai Ta’ase and the Fono’s Legal Counsel Henry Kappel last week to discuss numerous inquiries from Tualauta constituents and motorists on the status of the roads.
Sanitoa said that meeting “was very informative and productive insofar as getting a timeline on when the Second Phase Resurfacing Project will actually commence.” Furthermore, he commended Voigt on her diligent work in identifying additional Federal Highway revenues to fund such a substantial undertaking.
“We all seem to agree that certain sections of our highway roads, especially in the Tualauta District, are beyond regular patching and will now need a permanent resurfacing work,” Sanitoa wrote.
“Pursuant to our discussion, the list of roads for the Second Phase Resurfacing Project” will include:
· Aoloau Road (resurfacing the most dangerous pot holes);
· The loop from Pava’ia’i Road (beginning at Canco Hill) to Ili’ili Road (Lupelele Elementary School);
· Ottoville/Fagaima Road (including a side walk repair and road marking by the turn-in to the Tradewinds Hotel and Cost U Less); and · Vaitogi Road (extension) and the Fogagogo Road.
“These projects, plus several main roads in the Eastern side from Lauli’i to Alofau will take up to at least 6 to 8 months,” Sanitoa wrote.
Sanitoa told Voigt that the latest report on the Airport Road Project, in reference to incomplete submittals and the delay in the issuance of the Land Use Permit (LUP), “is very troubling.”
“Although the unpredictable nature in respect to a job of this significant task is understood, I am very concerned that this project might now take twice as long and will cost more than the originally agreed upon price,” he noted.
The multi-million-dollar airport road project was awarded to Whitehorn Construction, a company based out of Lake Elsinore, California. The company has a local office and won the contract after bidding $4 million less than McConnell Dowell.
Government engineers estimated that the work was going to cost $11.84 million. McConnell Dowell bid $11.03 million, while Whitehorn’s bid came in at $7.99 million. The Federal Highway Administration concurred with the award in October 2012, after Samoa News understands a formal request to review the award was made by McConnell Dowell due to the vast difference in bids.
“In the interest of our government and people, I trust that you will seek the advice of professional experts and take necessary steps to ensure the completion of this project in a timely manner and minimizing any further costs,” Sanitoa wrote to Voigt.
Sanitoa noted the need for permanent solutions for areas with drainage problems like the Ottoville lake by the LDS Mormon Church, Hope House at Fatuoaiga, Cost U Less, Happy Valley by the Baptist School, the Fagaima Road by his house, the new Petesa Road, and the Pava’ia’i drainage next to the Pava’ia’i Elementary School.
“I implore you to seriously look at a long term maintenance plan utilizing the new vacuum truck to drain and clean these areas regularly,” Sanitoa wrote. “The stagnate water after a downpour in many of these areas is a serious hazard to motorists,” and damaging property, resulting in costly repairs or replacements.
Innovative Financing - GARVEEs:
Sanitoa told Voigt that recent communication from Governor Lolo M. Moliga acknowledging GARVEE as a possible financial solution in rebuilding our aging infrastructure is both encouraging and positive.
Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEEs) is an innovative financing program that enables states to pay debt service and other bond-related expenses with future federal-aid highway funds.
As of September 2012, a total of 24 states and 3 territories have been issued $16 billion under the FHWA Innovative Funding Program to finance their infrastructure through the GARVEEs program.
Governor Lolo has asked Voigt to take the lead in researching this possibility; and during their meeting, Sanitoa told Voigt that he and Kappel will be more than happy to assist her in this endeavor, as the process is quite complicated and time consuming.
Lolo tasked Voigt to “research the program and to report to all of us on steps that we ought to pursue to forge our participation in the program.” He said once they have determined that we do have capacity to handle program requirements, we will collaborate on the development and passage of requisite legislation to implement this program.
The governor was also cautious when supporting GARVEE, noting that “our current financial condition and our poor credit rating may preclude qualification for this program. We will need to thoroughly address all of the relevant issues upon which we arrive at a prudent decision.”
Copies of Sanitoa’s letter were forwarded to Gov. Lolo, Lt. Gov. Lemanu P. Mauga, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, Tualauta Senators Magalei Logovi’i and Letuligasenoa Soli, Tualauta Rep. Florence Vaili Saulo, Fono Legal Counsel Henry Kappel, and Public Works Deputy Director Falava’i Ta’ase.
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